In its quest to inspire a generation of women to do greater things in diverse fields of endeavour, Y!/YNaija.com, in partnership with Leading Ladies Africa, brings you Nigeria’s 100 Most Influential Women – #Y100Women.
This list, just like previous incarnations in 2015 and 2016, spotlights Nigerian women who continue to make lofty strides in different aspects of their lives, refusing to be held back by whatever obstacles may exist in their way.
In commemoration of International Women’s Day 2017, we present to you, in alphabetical order, the list of amazing Nigerian women.
1. Abimbola Alale
It is a big deal to know that in Africa, Europe and the Middle East, Abimbola Alale is the only female boss of a major satellite company. As CEO of NIGCOMSAT, Abimbola is championing the move to bridge the digital divide Nigeria is experiencing with great passion.
2. Achenyo Idachaba
Who turns waste into beautiful woven wonders? That will be Achenyo Idachaba! Achenyo discovered invasive aquatic weeds and agro waste in Ibadan, Nigeria and started MitiMeth, a company that makes handcrafted accessories from the weeds. MitiMeth is now a formidable company that provides job opportunities for many Nigerians. The company’s steady growth has earned her several accolades and recognitions; from the Cartier Women’s Initiative award to giving her own TED talk.
3. Adenike Oyetunde
It is not every day you see someone who lost her limbs at age 20 and yet her zeal for life remains all-consuming. After losing her limbs to cancer, Adenike looked beyond the setback and forged ahead. Today, she is a lawyer, OAP on Info FM and activist that passionately fights for the rights of people living with disabilities.
4. Adenrenle Sonariwo
Logically, most people wouldn’t quit a lucrative job as an auditor and dive into the unexpected by setting up an art gallery. However, Aderenle has proven that it can be done. Even though she studied Accounting at Howard University and went on to work at PricewaterhouseCoopers, her intense love for arts led her to seek for more out of life. She set up the Rele Gallery and became a trailblazer when she hosted “What’s cooking”, a culinary art photographic exhibition in Nigeria, the first of its kind.
5. Adepeju Jaiyeoba
Although she had zero experience in the field of medicine Adepeju’s unwavering desire to help sanitize the health sector and reduce the number of maternal and child mortality led her to start Mother’s Delivery Kit. The enterprise has been a resounding success since it was launched. It is currently in 30 out of the 36 states in Nigeria and more than 50,000 women and babies have been reached with necessary maternal supplies. In 2015 Adepeju was honored by Barack Obama as a Mandela Washington Fellow for Young African Leaders (YALI).
6. Adesua Etomi
The beautiful and ever graceful Adesua stole our hearts when she appeared in her first movie ‘Knocking on Heavens Door’ in 2014. Since then, every role she has played, including the famous ‘Dunni Coker’ of the Wedding Party has been a hit back to back. In 2016, she won Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards as Best Actress for her role in Falling. A First Class graduate of Drama and Performance from the University of Wolverhampton, UK, Adesua is a fine blend of beauty, brains and skill!
7. Akwaeke Emezi
Whether she is making films, writing stories or non-fiction pieces, Akwaeke exudes sheer brilliance. Her dedication to the craft is evident in not just her results but also the recognition she has received so far. She was a writer-in-residence at Hub City’s Writers Project, and has received multiple awards, both for writing and for filmmaking. Her debut novel, FRESHWATER will be published by prominent Independent American publisher, Atlantic Grove.
8. Amina J Mohammed
You’ve seen her. Wearing rubber boots and donning a plastic life-vest, trudging through the oil-soaked soil of Ogoni Land. Meet Amina J. Mohammed; Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, former Environment Minister of the Federal republic of Nigeria, and former UN Secretary-General’s Special Advisor on Sustainable Development. She has displayed a clear sense of leadership, and service leading the way to the actual clean-up of the Ogoni community, more than 20 years after an oil spill that devastated the people and the land. In 2016, she made Fortune Magazine’s list of ’50 Greatest World Leaders,’ and has continued to be a tireless advocate for environmental sustainability and climate related issues. We love Amina, because hers is a clear example of the incredible impact one woman can make.
9. Arese Ugwu
“Don’t wait for a crisis to view your finances differently. Look at them differently now and avoid a crisis.” Wise words from Personal Finance and Wealth Management expert, Arese Ugwu. She is the author of hugely popular The Smart Money Woman, a novel that has encouraged women to make more savvy decisions with regards to their finances and wealth creation. Arese is helping young Africans discover their power to build their future and make smarter money decisions through Smart Money Africa, a personal finance platform for the African millennial. In 2016, Arese won the Remy Martin’s ‘Pacesetter’ award, and also an associate member of WIMBIZ. We can’t wait to see what 2017 brings for this inspiring, driven and ambitious woman.
10. Asisat Oshoala
Young, determined and super talented Asisat has put her name, country and continent on the world map with her amazing football skills. Apart from her impressive record
with the Super Falcons, Asisiat was the first African footballer in British Women’s Super League when she signed a deal with Liverpool. The 22 year old footballer was recognized by former president Goodluck Ebele Jonathan who conferred her with the Member of the Order of the Niger (MON) medal.
11. Ayodeji Megbope
Ayodeji Megbope, the CEO of No Leftovers, a full scale catering outfit started her business selling moin moin with just N1, 000. Today, No Leftovers records sales worth millions of naira every year, and empowers hundreds, by creating employment. From her humble beginnings to addressing the Annual General Meeting of Goldman Sachs and meeting Michelle Obama, Ayodeji is definitely a woman we are all proud of.
12. Bidemi Zakariyau
Bidemi Zakariyau is the kind of woman that holds the door open for other women in the workplace to shine through her exemplary leadership. She is a problem solver, PR Guru, CEO and Founder of LSF|PR, a Lagos based full service Public Relations agency. Her company boasts of high profile clientele like Nissan, Medplus, Remy Martin and a lot more.
13. Bisola Borha
When it comes to making events memorable and exquisite, Bisola Borha is well known for that. She went from planning a friend’s introduction to becoming one of the most sought after event planners in the country in a few years. As the CEO of Trendy Bee Events, Bisola has planned many high profile weddings and corporate events like the launch of MAC cosmetics and Clinique.
14. Bola Adesola
Bola Adesola, the MD/CEO of Standard Chartered Bank Nigeria Ltd, is a woman who is shattering glass ceilings in the banking industry. Since 2011, she has skillfully led the bank’s progress and unprecedented growth. With over 26 years banking experience this alumnus of Harvard Business School and Lagos Business School is a force to reckon with.
15. Bola Onada Sokunbi
If there’s one thing many women are struggling with it is becoming financially independent and free of debt. Bola Sokunubi started Clever Girl Finance to solve that problem. She is a certified financial educator, money coach and the go to person when it comes to women turning their financial dreams into reality.
16. Bunmi George
Bunmi represents the new face of fitness in Nigeria. It’s not just the weight loss results that inspire us, but her consistency in improving the lives of people. As the boss lady at Shredder Gang, Bunmi George is producing fitness accessories that ease the weight loss journey and with every new customer, she’s creating a movement!
17. Captain Abimbola Jaiyeola
Captain Abimbola made history when she became the first female helicopter captain in Nigeria flying the Sikorsky S76 for Bristow helicopters Nigeria. About a year after she was in the news again for saving 13 lives from a helicopter crash after deciding to have an emergency landing on water.
18. Chidinma Lawanson
With the backing of Department for International Development (DFID) and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Chidinma Lawanson is spearheading financial inclusion in Nigeria and supporting Nigeria’s financial service operators. As the CEO of EFInA (Enhancing Financial Innovation and Access), Chidinma is also actively involved in making sure women especially those in Northern Nigeria are also financially included.
19. Chika Uwazie
Chika is not your regular Human Resource Professional. She carved a niche for herself when she automated HR in Nigeria by starting Talent Base, a Human Resource software for growing enterprises in Nigeria. Talent Base simplifies and automates HR and payroll processes. Before starting Talentbase, Chika worked at several international organizations including The Whitaker Group, World Bank, and Exxon Mobil.
20. Chinenye Jeanne Nnoli
Lawyer, Poet, and Entrepreneur, Chinenye is the CEO/Founder of Metro Woman – a media production company that produces content that inspires, educate and entertains women. Nenye as she is fondly called is also the host of the Metro Woman Talk Show – a platform that highlights the achievements of female entrepreneurs and explores the solutions to the challenges modern women face daily. According to her: “Our mission is to help women live their best lives.” Chinenye recently launched the Metro Woman Market Place – a product and ideas showcase for female entrepreneurs.